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There’s no place like home. That’s true. But often, before going home after being discharged from a hospital, it might make sense to spend time a number of days or weeks recuperating at a rehabilitation facility. ‘Rehab’ facilities are places where your body can heal and/or regain strength after a fall, surgery, or a variety of illnesses.  Another term you may hear for a ‘rehab’ facility is a ‘skilled nursing facility’, since nurses provide oversight and care 24hours/day.

Just like hospitals (and home care services), not all rehab facilities are the same.  Selecting the right one for you can make all the difference in the speed of your recovery and your overall experience.

What should you look for when choosing a rehab facility for you or a loved one? Here we share some professional guidance from Privatus’s Client Services team:

Do I really need inpatient rehab services?

Virtually all rehabilitation services are available on an outpatient and inpatient basis. Your case manager at your hospital will do an inventory of your rehabilitation needs and home situation. When rehab needs are extensive or your home is not suitable for recovery (for example, there’s no ground floor bedroom and bathroom to heal from a broken hip), it makes sense to go inpatient.  If your medical condition warrants the ongoing assessment and intervention of a nurse (such as pain management), that is another indication for inpatient rehab services.

When should I start looking at rehabilitation facilities?

If your surgery or hospital stay is pre-planned, be pro-active and tour the facility prior to the surgery date. If a hospital stay arises unexpectedly, start as soon as your loved one is stabilized.

Generally, a hospital case manager will give you a list of facilities in your area to consider and your physician may also have recommendations.  Ask friends about their experiences. At Privatus, we are often asked by our clients to provide expert guidance since we are very familiar with most places.

Should I choose the facility closest to my home?

One of the primary concerns for a patient is being close to their home, family, and friends. We understand. Having your support network close at-hand is important to your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being, but sometimes, there is a tradeoff. A facility a little further away may do a better job of providing services and care based on your specific needs.

How do I know whether a rehab facility is right for me?

Without question, the best way to judge a facility is to visit it – without an appointment.  You will get an immediate sense of how welcoming and accommodating the staff is to you.  Be sure to observe how the staff interacts with the patients in addition to noticing the cleanliness and upkeep of rooms and common areas.  Also look at online reviews and ratings. You can visit your state’s certifying agency – such as the Department of Health and Medicare – to read the facility’s overview and whether it is adhering to required protocols.

What questions do I ask on a tour?

The first thing you want to discuss is the therapies that you’ll need – physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech therapy (ST). You’ll want to know frequency and length of sessions.  Do they provide therapy on the weekends?  If you have special needs, such as chemotherapy or psychiatry, now’s the time to inquire whether the facility has certified professionals.  You also want to ensure comfort. Modern facilities are moving toward private rooms and bathrooms.  Is this an option?  A private room can make a huge difference in the ability to sleep—and rest can be just as important to your recovery as therapy. If your stay is going to be extended — maybe a few weeks or longer– you may also want to see if there are  outdoor grounds that can used during nice weather and whether there are mind-body modalities available, such as massage therapy.

What’s the MOST important thing I should look for?

Most rehab facilities have excellent therapists. The most discerning issue that will affect your experience is the number of nurses and nurse’s aides – especially at night, and on weekends and holidays.  Receiving prompt attention, managing pain, spending time out of bed – these all play a vital role for a successful and swift recovery.  Be especially mindful about evening and weekend coverage.

How do I make my final decision?

You will need to weigh everything you’ve seen and heard.  Along with everything else we’ve mentioned, talk to the facility about expectations for length of stay, their discharge planning process, and the ratio of social workers to patients. By talking to two to three facilities, you’ll have a good idea of which is best for you or your loved one.  But one caveat! Timing is everything. A bed at your first choice isn’t always available when your loved one is ready to be discharged. Most facilities will only know availability a day or two in advance as arrivals and discharges are constantly in flux.

When it’s time to come home

You want the transition from rehab to home to be as seamless and stress-free as possible. When that time comes, Privatus can provide customized home care, whether for a limited period of time or for ongoing needs. For those who will be new to the Privatus family, our team delves deep into your specific situation and preferences, to put in place the appropriate home care professionals, whether nurses or home health aides.

For our existing clients, we maintain contact, visit during your rehab stay and communicate closely with the facility case manager. We bring information to the rehab care team and helpful insights. Our clinical professionals can attend care planning meetings either as active participants or to hear recommendations directly.  In essence, we become an Integral part of the discharge planning process and provide valuable continuity.

At Privatus, we specialize in private care services throughout Boston, Cape Cod and The Islands, New York City, Long Island, Fairfield, Westchester, and Bergen Counties.  We encourage you to contact us to learn more about our capabilities.